Gov’t Working to Diversify Tourism Sector

Photo: Marlon Tingling Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller (left) listens keenly to hotel mogul and Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, while attending the 14th Travel Awards at Sandals Whitehouse Resort in Westmoreland on Saturday December 5. Mrs. Simpson Miller delivered the keynote address at the function which was attended by over 800 Sandals Travel Agents.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says the government will be working with a number of public-private partners for the long term expansion, development and diversification of the tourism industry.
  • To this end, Mrs. Simpson Miller said the Tourism Enhancement Fund, (TEF) has already made major investments in the development of attractions and other tourism-related facilities.
  • The Prime Minister further noted that the parish of Westmoreland where Sandals Whitehouse Resort in located, has its fair share of heritage sites and is urging the management of the resort to immediately move to include cultural tourism in its business mix.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says the government will be working with a number of public-private partners for the long term expansion, development and diversification of the tourism industry.

To this end, Mrs. Simpson Miller said the Tourism Enhancement Fund, (TEF) has already made major investments in the development of attractions and other tourism-related facilities.

Addressing the 14th annual Sandals Resorts International Star Awards at Sandals Whitehouse Resort in Westmoreland on Saturday December 5, Mrs. Simpson Miller said under this new thrust to improve the tourism product, the capital city of Kingston will receive major focus.

“Kingston is being repositioned as a creative city, offering great insights into our unique Jamaican culture. Jamaica’s Blue and John Crown Mountain National Park was this year named a world heritage site,” she said.

She added that attention will also be paid to the development of other sites across the island-especially in St. Ann, Falmouth and Port Royal.

“We are also developing other outstanding heritage sites. These include Seville (St. Ann) where evidence of the British, Spanish and the Taino civilizations are preserved… Falmouth-the most intact example of a Georgian town in the Caribbean and Port Royal with its sunken city and the memory of Pirates and the Caribbean rum and sugar trade,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

The Prime Minister further noted that the parish of Westmoreland where Sandals Whitehouse Resort in located, has its fair share of heritage sites and is urging the management of the resort to immediately move to include cultural tourism in its business mix.

“The Tourism Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeil has led the redevelopment of 10 historical sites in Westmoreland…We invite your support to leverage Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage into a viable commercial business. It is in this context that I encourage resorts such as the Sandals Group, to consider the value of cultural tourism in its business mix. We must find a way to include this mystical intangible aspect of our culture in our tourism sales and marketing packages,” she stated.

Meanwhile, with world tourism set to grow by almost 4 per cent annually up to 2020, the Prime Minister said Jamaica is well positioned to reap the benefits of that projected growth.

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